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Eighth grade teams continue in tourney

The season continues for both eighth grade basketball teams after coming out on top in the open rounds of the Eighth Grade Tournament last week.
The Blue Devils won two of their three games to improve to 15-7 overall, 8-7 in conference play.
For the boys squad, they defeated the always difficult Vance Vikings last Saturday, Jan. 23, 36-26, in the opening game of the Eighth Grade Tournament at Science Hill High School.
Ethan Rice (15 points) and Lucas Hensley (12 points) combined for 27 points as they advance to the next round and also qualified for the Area One Tournament next weekend at John Sevier. Connor Simpson and Austin Green each scored three points. Shelton and Armstrong scored two and one point, respectively.
“We survived,” Jordan Simmons, Unicoi County head coach, said. “We attacked the basket in the second half and made our free throws.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Blue Devils pounded Church Hill, 50-17 in their final home game of the season.
Hensley paced a balanced attack with 16 points. Rice followed with nine. Shelton scored six while Green scored five. Jerad Shelley scored three points while Nick Chambers, Tristan White, Matthew Lingerfelt, Thomas Tipton and Armstrong each scored two points. Simpson scored one point.
The Blue Devils ended the regular season on Thursday, Jan. 21 at Ross Robinson, with a 43-27 loss. Rice led with nine points while Hensley scored seven points. Simpson scored three while Green, Shelley, Lingerfelt and Shelton each scored two points.
The Blue Devils will play John Sevier Tuesday, Jan. 26 in the auxiliary gym at Freedom Hall in the next round of Eighth Grade Tournament play. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
In eighth grade girls action, the Lady Devils turned away a difficult Vance squad, 40-35, on Saturday, Jan. 23 at Freedom Hall in the opening game of the Eighth Grade Tournament and also secured a spot in the Area One Tournament next weekend at John Sevier.
The win improves the Lady Devils to 14-8 overall. Tiffany Laughren scored 15 points and Haley Webb scored 12 points to lead the Lady Devils. Whitley True scored seven points and Cassie Foster contributed four points. Brooke Strother’s two points completed the Unicoi County scoring.
Head coach Kerri King was thrilled at her team’s performance. “They wouldn’t be denied,” King said. “They knew it was one and done. They played very hard.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, the Lady Devils finished their regular season with a bang, beating Church Hill, 34-13.
Laughren led the way with 11 points. True and Foster followed with eight and seven points, respectively. Emily Hopson scored four points while Webb and Strother each scored two points.
Unicoi County faces its old nemesis, Science Hill, in the next round of the Eighth Grade Tournament on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 5 p.m.
For the Unicoi County Middle School seventh grade basketball teams, the season came to an end last week.
For the boys team, they split their final two games and finished with a 9-7 overall record.
“It’s the best record I have ever had as a coach,” Chris Brown, seventh grade head coach. said.
The Blue Devils won their final home game of the season when they defeated Church Hill, 43-31, on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Zach Thelen led the offense with 11 points with Will Shelton scoring 10. Caleb Armstrong contributed nine points and Luke Fronckoski scored eight. Eli Gillis and Jordan Hyder rounded out the scoring with three and two points, respectively.
On Thursday, Jan. 21 the team’s season ended with a 34-19 loss at Ross Robinson.
Shelton led the Blue Devils with six points. Gillis followed with five. Armstrong scored four points while Fronckoski and Davis Webb scored two points each.
For the seventh grade Lady Devils, the season ended on Tuesday, Jan. 19 at Church Hill with a 38-31 loss.
Chelsey Harness led the Lady Devils with nine points. Morgan Lee Brown followed with seven points. Taylor Smith, Devan Lamie and Emily Lynch each scored four points while Brittney Rice completed the scoring with three points as Unicoi County finished the season with a 5-10 overall record.